Michigan State paid PR firm $500G to track media coverage of Nassar scandal: report

The recent sexual abuse scandal involving disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar took a toll on Michigan State University, the school with which Nassar was affiliated.

In recent months Michigan State lost its president, its athletic director, a dean and, for many, its reputation.

But the scandal also cost the school more than $500,000 – in money paid to a New York City public relations firm for just one month’s work in tracking media coverage and social media reaction to the case.

The work had previously been done in-house, by Michigan State’s Office of Communication and Brand Strategy, the Lansing State Journal reported.

For January, New York firm Weber Shandwick charged the university $517,343 for 1,440 hours of collecting and evaluating news articles, and monitoring social media comments of Nassar’s victims, their families, journalists, celebrities and politicians in connection with the case, the newspaper reported.

Michigan State has since ended its relationship with the PR firm, a university spokeswoman said, but she would not specify the reason.

Nassar recently began a decades-long prison sentence after being convicted of molesting patients and possessing child pornography. His more than 200 accusers included several top U.S. Olympic gymnasts, including Mckayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.